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Kings & Chronicles Annual Update!

Posted April 24th, 2013 at 11:07 PM by jbbnbsmith
It's been over a year since I last posted about my game design, and a lot has changed. I am really getting close to being ready for some serious playtesting. Here is the status and a description of the changes.

1. Instead of one player controlling both Judah & Israel and the second player controlling the surrounding nations, now it is Judah vs. Israel. This makes the game flow SOOOOO much better, and it finally helped me nail down victory conditions for the game.

2. Change #1 meant a complete rewrite of the two Event Decks. After a good deal of additional research and several tweaks I am now pretty set on the Event Decks for both players. The only thing that may well change are the Battle Effects.

3. The King Cards are back! They really are needed to provide historical background and help drive the game forward. Also, having Kings Decks allows for the option to play with the Kings in chronological order or randomized.

4. Era's - There are still 7 eras in the game. The era's each last a given number of turns, based on the total years for each era. The eras are not all the same length because I needed to choose divisions such that the reigns of the various kings for both players lined up within eras. This required a bit of time stretching and compression here and there, but essentially each turn represents 6 years on average.

5. Player hands - Players draw a hand of 5 Event Cards each turn. The Card still consist of three components: Point Value, Event, and Batle Effect. A card may always be played for its point value alone. The Event may only be played during or after the designated era for the event. For example, the drought in Israel occured historically during Era 3. So the Judah player may play that event in Era 3, or any subsequent Era. However, it costs Wealth to play an Event late.

6. Wealth - I mentioned in my last post that I really wanted to have some sort of resource management in the game without getting too complicated. At the beginning of the game each player begins with 20 Wealth (the generic unit of resource in the game). At the end of each Era, each player collects Wealth based on the areas they control, and then must spend one Wealth for each unit of army strength. Wealth may also be purchased by spending the Point Value of Event Cards. There are Events that may also add or decrease a player's Wealth. Should a player ever not have enough Wealth to pay a debt, that player's Favor of God is decreased by 1.

7. The Assyrian Invasion Deck. If you've followed this game at all you know that the biggest challenge I had was how to deal the fact that the game essentially ends with the Assyrian empire capturing Samaria and deporting the northern Kingdom of Israel. The Assyrian Invasion Deck basically provides an in-game timer counting down to the fall of Samaria. At the end of each Era, a number of cards are revealed from the Invasion Deck. This number is based on the current Favor of God track for Israel. The more "out of favor" they are, the faster the Invasion proceeds. This deck also provides some cool (I think so anyway) historical context of what is happening "off-map" as the Assyrian Empire slowly develops over the course of the game. Many of the cards have no game effect, but others require tribute to be paid (Wealth), or indicate that various positions on the map have been taken over by Assyria. It REALLY works well and has solved several issues including victory conditions.

8. Victory Conditions - The primary victory conditions are based on the historical timing of the Fall of Samaria. If Samaria Falls prior to the end of the 7th Era, the Judah player wins. If Samaria is still standing after all 7 Eras have been layed, Israel wins. I need to play more games to determine the winner if Samaria falls "on time." However, there are several other instant victory conditions that keep the game very tense. In fact, the majority of my test games have ended due to these instant victory conditions. They are:
-If at any time a player controls two foreign nations, that player wins.
-If at any time a player loses his capital city to a foreign power, he loses.
-If at any time the Judah Favor of God Track falls to -6, the Judah player loses
So far I've had a pretty good mix of victory results.

So that's where things are at the moment. I'm very excited to see things finally coming together. The game is now fast playing with many games ending in about an hour, and full games lasting about 2 hours. The Event Cards provide a great deal of variation how in the game unfolds, but there is never a sense of "there's nothing I can do because my cards suck." In fact, the struggle is always trying to decide what to do with your limited actions each turn.

There are still some things that are a bit fiddly, but I think I'm getting very close to the point where I'd like to have some people try it out.

So, if you think you might be interested in doing some preliminary play testing let me know.
Total Comments 4


MegaSilver's Avatar
I would be interested in trying the game out, but I have no one close by and/or willing to play enough games for a good playtest. :/

Have you looked at Twilight Struggle's card mechanics? I would suggest you take a look at it if you have not. It is one of the best, if not the best, two player card driven games created. You could get some great pointers.
Posted April 24th, 2013 at 11:50 PM by MegaSilver MegaSilver is online now
quozl's Avatar
I'm interested.
Posted April 25th, 2013 at 03:52 PM by quozl quozl is offline
jbbnbsmith's Avatar
Megasilver, even if you just wanted to give some feedback on the rules and play through a couple games solo that would be very helpful.

Quozl, that would be great!

I need to make a few more revisions to the cards and also to the map. Then I need to go through the rules and clean things up. Once that is done I could email the files to you. I am currently using dice for the armies, but I can make up some simple tokens to print out. I am his using poker chips for the Wealth and squares of craft foam for control markers. Fortressses could be pennies or any small coin.

My guess is that I should be able to have everything finished by mid May. I'll post updates here and also pm you.

Posted April 25th, 2013 at 04:21 PM by jbbnbsmith jbbnbsmith is offline
MegaSilver's Avatar
Cool. Thanks. I would be interested in trying this game out.
Posted April 26th, 2013 at 08:36 AM by MegaSilver MegaSilver is online now
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